History of the Irish Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
An informal group was formed in October 1984 and in March 1985 it was accepted as a Regional Group of the Ergonomics Society (U.K.). The Group ran seminars once or twice per year and was involved from 1985 onwards in the development of the ideas and processes for the title “European Ergonomist”. The aim was to provide the mechanism for establishing and controlling a recognised professional level for Ergonomists throughout Europe, in order to provide mobility between member states and to protect the public from those who are unqualified and/or not competent. The standards were agreed in 1992 and provided the mechanism for the Irish Ergonomics Group to become a fully Irish society.
A constitution was approved at an AGM in March 1993 and the Irish Ergonomics Society (IES) was formally launched on 5th March 1994 when the first Annual Conference was held at the University of Limerick. The Society was admitted to the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) as an Affiliated Organisation at its 12th Triennial Congress in Toronto on 14th August 1994. This made it the officially recognised society for Human Factors and Ergonomics in Ireland. The IES became a Federated Member of the IEA in August 1995. The Society also represents Ireland on the Council of the Centre for the Registration of European Ergonomists (CREE) which was incorporated legally in the Netherlands on 1st October 1995.
At an AGM on the 6th June 2019 the name of the Society was amended to the Irish Human Factors and Ergonomics Society to reflect the international practice.
The Society is an interdisciplinary non-profit, non-political, non-union, non-confessional organisation of professional people involved in the ergonomics field. The Society promotes the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings that are applicable to the design of systems and devices of all kinds.
It furthers the scientific consideration of such knowledge in the assignment of appropriate functions for humans and machines to perform, whether people serve as operators, maintainers, or users in the system.
It advocates the systematic use of such knowledge in the design of interactive systems of people, machines and environments to ensure their effectiveness, safety, health and ease of performance.
The Society encourages appropriate education and training for those entering the ergonomics profession and for those who conceive, design, develop, manufacture, test, manage, and participate in systems. The purpose inherent in ergonomics research and application is to contribute to overall human well-being.
Ergonomics concerns are as old as civilisation but their present form developed due to user difficulties with complex equipment and new technologies. Novel techniques were needed and the name ergonomics was developed to describe the field.
Its main areas were information perception and cognition, control mechanisms, workplace design, and job skills. In industry, concerns were task analysis, time-and-motion studies, and operator utilisation. To extend this work attention was devoted to anthropometry, work physiology, work psychology, and the work environment.
Later it was broadened to include social and organisational issues, control room design, musculoskeletal injuries, human reliability, training, and health and safety, amongst others.
Areas of application include architecture, consumer products, human-computer interaction, ageing, farming, health, sports and recreation, oil field operations, mining, forensics, education, and artificial intelligence.
The Society’s aim is to pursue and promote work on these issues on a 32 country basis and to maintain close involvement with the developments at a European level.
It contributes ergonomics advice with regard to relevant standards, educational courses, safety and health activities, and government initiatives.
It organises meetings to promote the exchange of knowledge and to strengthen relations between members and supporters.
It provides the Registration Committee which decides on the eligibility of residents of Ireland for submission of their names to the Centre for Registration of European Ergonomists to permit them to use the title European Egonomist (Eur Erg). Such people are recognised as fully qualified ergonomics professionals who can practice freely in all countries of the European Community.